Friday, February 17, 2017

Bizarro World Presidency

Lots of people have strong opinions about what's going on in American politics right now. Instead of writing about that, I want to write a little about what might have been.

What if....

What if Mitt Romney had won in 2012? He probably would have faced Hillary Clinton in 2016 (she was the 2016 nominee ever since 2008), and given what we know about the re-election rate of sitting presidents, and what we now know about how terrible of a candidate Hillary was, I think it would be safe to assume that he would have been re-elected. So what I want to know is how many of Donald Trump's most-adamant critics would take that trade: change the outcome of the 2012 election to prevent Trump winning the 2016 election?

Maybe you think this isn't reasonable, that the two elections have little relation to each other. I don't think so, though. I think the core of the Republican Party was open to Trump because they thought: "We tried a compromise candidate, someone who should have been tolerable to a vast majority of Democrats, and they decided to paint him as 'Mormon Hitler.' Well, we'll show 'em...not 'Hitler,' of course, because that comparison lacks civility and reason, but something not quite a zero on the Hitler Scale."

And now you say, "Oh, come ON, A Random Stranger! When did Republicans ever try to show their goodwill by embracing a candidate from the opposite party to show they can be reasonable?" Um, how about Obama's first election? The week after the election his favorability rating was 75% and it peaked at nearly 80% at his inauguration. It's been 50 years since a president has hit 80% without a war or terrorist attack. The story of the racist Republicans who were always opposed to Obama is false. Trump won the presidency because of Obama/Trump voters in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. I know Obama lost me and others like me when his response to the recession was to nationalize healthcare. It's not racist to oppose statism.

Anyway, that's getting too far afield. The point is this: there's an argument to be made that a Romney victory in 2012 would have cuts the legs out from under any Trumpism groundswell in 2016, not just delaying it four years, but snuffing it out. And so I wonder if Trump's most-strident critics would be prepared to accept an offer: we can completely avoid a Trump presidency at the cost of a Romney victory in 2012.

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